Who would say that handbags made from recycled materials could create a new economy for disadvantaged families? E-Globbal is also protecting the environment and educating Khmer’s in Cambodia on how important it is to recycle plastics and other materials.
Cambodia is a beautiful country, but also very poor. Corruption makes it even harder for the families’ survival and blocks their access to health and education. On the other hand, the lack of knowledge around environmental problems, as well as and not having a garbage system in place, provokes that millions of tonnes of the plastic end in the rivers, beaches, and roadsides. Solutions? Handbags made from recycled materials!
E-Globbal is a company that attacks the root of the problem. With the bags that the Khmer families use to carry the cement, rice, seeds, flour, and other foods, E-Globbal designs and produces beautiful, high-quality handmade bags.
Through recovering materials such as cans, plastics, bags, plastic bottles, and metals, E-Globbal creates a parallel economy, helping the most impoverished families to make a living. Also, the workers get paid directly, which ensures a fair rate preventing corruption.
More and more Cambodian families are adding to E-Globbal.
A construction worker gets paid around 120 USD/month. Rice growers even less, especially when it’s low season for rice growing. E-Globbal employs Khmer families throughout the entire process. While some families who live nearby the cemeteries collect, cut, and wash the bags, others sew the bags.
Educating the Khmer communities is another pillar where E-Globbal establishes its foundations. An average Khmer family is using 47 pieces of single-use plastic bags, straws, and bottles on a weekly basis. Most of them are just thrown away when used only once. At the same time, most of the families burn the garbage in front of their houses to get rid of mosquitoes. They now start to understand that plastic contaminates their fields and has a dramatic effect on their production.
Instead, E-Globbal encourages recycling as much as possible to avoid polluting their environment and have the extra income that will help them to send their kids to school, have medical treatment, or improve their homes. Other neighbors, once learning about this boomerang effect on their economy, they wish to do the same.
Children understand what all this is about!
E-Globbal is also helping a local company to sell reusable bamboo straws, implementing them in guest houses and bars. Even, they would give talks and conferences to Khmer children in schools about the plastic problem. The future is promising, as the change seems to become a reality once the new generations take over.
But plastic is still one of the significant issues to fight in Cambodia. Collecting garbage has become effective in major cities only for the past three years. However, people are still throwing around too often. The more children can go to school, the more impact the new generations will have on the contaminated environment.
Unfortunately, there are no factories located in the country to transform these upcycled materials into products. So generally these would be sent to China, Thailand or Vietnam. E-Globbal, again, is disrupting the way of making business in Cambodia. The company has set a partnership with Khmer families, with no intermediaries from overseas. For years they have earned trustful relationships based on something as simple as paying the families fairly and on time.
Friendships with some of these families allow the brand to design and prototype new models of bags.
The E-Globbal Cambodian hand-made bags
E-Globbal and the Cambodian families create handbags with designs that respect the Khmer culture. The bags and pockets are convenient for everyday use (toilet bags, market, and beach bags, wallets, purses, cigarette boxes…) that are resistant, with zippers and double layer, also waterproof and with beautiful graphics. But most importantly, the production of these bags has helped Khmer families to improve on their daily basis for the past six years.
“We have seen an improvement of the way of living way of many people since we started the business. The families we are working with are living mainly in Siem Reap, Kampong Chan and Phnom Penh areas. Most of them do this as their main activity and seems very happy with it. We have seen the cellphone arriving here in the last few years, which sounds like a revolution and it’s unbelievable how fast they are learning!”
Nicolas, Co-Founder of E-Globbal
Since 2011 the founders have experienced from the depths of how is life in Cambodia, that’s why they have learned to live with the essentials. Their message to the world is that we should become more aware of the reasons why we buy and understand the impact that is having on more disadvantaged communities.
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